It's hard to remember a game where the Tampa Bay Lightning played this well and didn't come out on top. They certainly showed the kind of start you want to see, following that up with a sustained, hard-working effort for the duration of the game, and outshot the Red Wings by well over a 3/1 ratio while dominating play in most areas throughout. But they also came up empty seven times with the man advantage, which is an almost absurd amount of power play opportunities for a playoff game. Ben Bishop was not good in the first postseason game of his career, with none of the three goals on the thirteen shots he faced coming on notably difficult shots. In the other net, while stopping 44 of 46 shots is always going to qualify as impressive, it's not like Detroit's Petr Mrazek was spectacular. He gave up lots and lots of rebounds and the Lightning cashed in on none of them.
"I thought we played a great game, Obviously, you'd like to win when you play that well, but sometimes when you don't play that well you win, and and sometimes you play really well and you lose. We can't look too much into it. Got to look back and see what we did well, and then just get ready for the next game." - Bishop
"Obviously, going 0 for 6 (7) isn't good. I think we had a lot of good looks, a lot of good chances, but to go 0 for 6 and let that shorthanded in in the third period, it's a tough one to swallow. If we keep moving the puck, keep creating those chances, something's going to go in. Special teams are going to be huge in the playoffs." - Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman
The Red Wings opened the scoring at 9:03 on their first shot of the game, which is never a good sign. Pavel Datsyuk got the tally on assists from Kyle Quincey and Darren Helm.
The Lightning tied it up at 14:31 when Brian Boyle forced a turnover on the penalty kill and swept in to score shorthanded on the resultant breakaway.
The first period ended with the teams tied at one.
At just :08 of the second, Detroit regained the lead on a power play that carried over from the first period, a very questionable goalie interference call against Anton Stralman. Again, it was Datsyuk getting a helper from Helm.
It was the only goal of the period and Detroit held a 2-1 lead going into the second intermission.
The Red Wings stretched their lead to two, when Luke Glendening scored the eventual game winner shorthanded and unassisted at 5:50 of the third.
The Lightning revived a glimmer of hope at 8:26 on a goal from Nikita Nesterov, with help from Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn, but would draw no closer, even with Bishop pulled for the extra skater for most of the final two minutes.
"Petr (Mrazek) really saved us tonight. PK was good. Other than that, we've got a lot of stuff we need to be better at. We got the first one, now we have a day here tomorrow (to) fix a couple of things and be ready to go for the next one." - Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg
"I couldn't draw the game up any better than the way we played it. It's tough. You think about games, ultimately, it's not really how many you score, it's how many you keep out. When you're giving up two or less, you've got a pretty good chance of winning the game. You give up the third one, now it's sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. Give up the fourth, you're probably losing the game. We gave up the one where it's in the balance,.. We were just one short at keeping them out." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
The series continues with Game 2 on Saturday at the Amalie Arena, a 3:00 PM start.
- This is the first time the Red Wings and Lightning have met in the postseason, a direct result of the most recent league realignment.
- The Lightning went 3-1 vs Detroit in the regular season, including 2-0 at home.
- Braydon Coburn returned to the Lightning lineup, after missing 14 games with a "lower body injury".
- Detroit hadn't won at Tampa Bay since February 17, 2011
- The Lightning are now 37-37 in playoff games, with a 17-19 record at Amalie Arena.
- The Lightning honored Tamara Davis as the 42nd Lightning Community Hero of the season during the first period of tonight's game. Davis, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Habitat for Humanity Pinellas County. Having been in an abusive marriage, Davis worked up the courage to file for divorce. She was then left to make a life of her own and did not have stable living conditions, which gave her abusive ex-husband custody of the children. Determined to win back custody, Davis worked tirelessly to acquire transitional housing and regained custody. Her home was then set on fire and she lost everything. What happened after was the turning point that led to Davis's ambition to serve the community. She applied for assistance through Habitat for Humanity and was eventually blessed with a new home. At her home dedication, Davis felt compelled to help others overcome adversity, just like what was done for her. Since then, she has been serving at Habitat for Humanity and is currently a board member. Over the past six years, she has contributed over 400 volunteer hours and has helped 111 families through the arduous 9 - 24 month home ownership process all while working a full time job and raising three children. Habitat for Humanity Pinellas County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit housing organization based on Christian principles. Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with struggling low-income families and individuals to engage community volunteers, and corporate, civic and faith organizations to help build and renovate decent, affordable housing.